World-Class Birdwatching in Lake County

March 1, 2020

Great White Egret, Cache Creek, Lower Lake. Photo: Karen Pavone Photography

Where to See Waders and Sea Birds

Clocking in at nearly 70 square miles, Clear Lake plays host to throngs of migrating and roosting birds each year. The freshwater Northern California lake is classified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the Audubon Society, and noted for its key role in the Pacific Flyway. From Rodman Slough to the north and Anderson Marsh and Clear Lake State Park to the south, fans of wetland and wading birds are in for a treat. Photogenic faves include the great blue heron, double-crested cormorant, great egret, and several types of grebe.

Turkeys! Photo: Karen Pavone Photography
Turkeys! Photo: Karen Pavone Photography

Where to See Raptors & Terrestrial Birds

Plentiful fish and small mammals make Lake County a hotspot for powerful birds of prey. For a peek into the world of nesting bald eagles, take a hike through the BLM managed Cache Creek Natural Area. To snap a shot of a feeding osprey, head to Blue Lakes or the southern shores of Clear Lake. Hiking or biking in our mixed grasslands, woodlands, and chaparral zones, you might spot a burrowing owl, a rafter of boisterous turkeys, or California’s state bird, the quail.

Bird Watchers
Photo: Lake County Audubon Society

Lake County Birdwatching Groups and Events

Whether you’re renting a kayak or taking a hike, there are so many ways to get out and enjoy Lake County’s avian neighbors. Our favorite way to bird is to get in on an educational group outing or to simply grab a couple of friends. Every spring, our local Audubon chapter hosts an expert-led boat tour known as Heron Days, and docents at Anderson Marsh State Park offer up insights on birds and other wildlife during their monthly nature walks. For a guided birding excursion by pontoon boat, charter a trip with Eyes of the Wild tours.